Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Survival mode’ sees Djoko through at steamy US Open

‘Survival mode’ sees Djoko through at steamy US Open

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the third set in his match with Marton Fucsovics on day two of the US Open Men’s at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on Tuesday. AFP

‘Survival mode’ sees Djoko through at steamy US Open

Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic suffered in sweltering US Open conditions on Tuesday but battled through to the second round with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

Djokovic, playing his first match on Arthur Ashe Stadium since falling to Stan Wawrinka in the 2016 final, received a brutal welcome back to Flushing Meadows as soaring temperatures and high humidity prompted organisers to offer the men a 10-minute mid-match heat break for the first time ever.

“We both struggled. We were not the only ones today. Brutal conditions,” said Djokovic, who called for trainers who enveloped him in ice packed towels late in the second set.

“I had to find a way to dig myself out of the trouble.”

Until late in the third it was “survival mode” said Djokovic, who endured a rocky start to the season after elbow surgery before breaking through for a 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.

His Cincinnati Masters victory over Roger Federer stamped him a US Open favourite along with defending champion Rafael Nadal, despite his modest sixth seeding.

He certainly looked a contender as he reeled off the last 10 games against Fucsovics, showing signs of sharper focus even before the 10-minute heat break between the third and fourth sets.

Federer, the second seed, escaped the worst of the conditions as he headlined the night session on Ashe. Nor did he meet much resistance from Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

Up 5-1 in the final set, Federer was unable to close out the match against Nishioka’s serve, and then was broken on his first attempt to serve it out.

Federer, who claimed his 20th Grand slam title at the Australian Open in January, put the match away two games later, sealing it with a service winner.

“I didn’t know how really good Nishioka was,” Federer admitted of the 22-year-old, who was ranked 58th in the world last March before tearing a left knee ligament and sliding out of the top 150.

“I wanted to play well at the beginning of each set. I was able to break the beginning of each set, cruise after that. I was very happy.”

Fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev kept his time out in the sun to a minimum with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Canadian lucky loser Peter Polansky.

And Australian Nick Kyrgios, opening the evening action on Louis Armstrong stadium, fired 25 aces and 48 total winners in a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Moldova’s Radu Albot.

For many, however, the day was a hard slog and the decision made some two hours in to afford the men a heat break after a third set wasn’t enough to prevent half a dozen retirements.

Italy’s Stefano Travaglia, Argentine Leonardo Mayer, Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, Russian Mikhail Youzhny and Serbian Filip Krajinovic were all victims of the heat, while Romanian Marius Copil succumbed to an arm injury in the third set of his match with seventh-seeded former champion Marin Cilic.

“I had heat stroke,” Mayer said of his decision to call it quits against Serbia’s Laslo Djere. “I was not going to die on the court – tennis is not for that.”

‘Think cool thoughts’

Women’s second seed Caroline Wozniacki took the weather in stride, trying to “think cool thoughts” as she defeated 2011 champion Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-2.

For France’s Alize Cornet, however, the steamy conditions were a “nightmare” that had her weeping courtside during a three-set loss to Johanna Larsson of Sweden.

In other women’s matches, reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber, seeded fourth, defeated Russian Margarita Gasparyan 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova beat Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 6-4, and 2017 runner-up Madison Keys downed France’s Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-4.

Maria Sharapova, who won the last of her five Grand Slam titles in 2014, advanced 6-2, 7-6 (8/6) over Patty Schnyder, out of retirement and at 39 the oldest player to qualify for a Grand Slam main draw.

Sharapova led the second set 5-1 but didn’t have a match point until the tiebreaker, finally securing the win over the determined Swiss on her fourth opportunity.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea